I’m a perfectionist (and I hate it)

I'm a perfectionist (and I hate it)

I’m a perfectionist. That means I’m terrified of being anything less than perfect. Every mistake, no matter how small, and every little imperfection, no matter how irrelevant, all drag my self-confidence down. I’m a perfectionist. That means that even though I’m living a successful life, I see myself as a failure. When I look in the mirror, I see a mess. A hopeless case. Someone who’s lost. A failure. Even though I’m none of those things. But I’m not perfect, so I must be a failure.

Perfectionism is not something positive

I hate the word perfectionism. Honestly, it should be called imperfectionism. I’m an imperfectionist. Too often, people think that perfectionism is something positive. Always wanting to be the best. Having an eye for detail. But it’s not.

Being a perfectionist is not the same as wanting to deliver high-quality work. It’s wanting to deliver perfect work. It’s wanting to have a perfect body, a perfect apartment, a perfect partner, a perfect job, a perfect life. But nothing is ever perfect. 

Perfectionism makes me forget about opportunities and fills my mind with worst-case scenarios instead. It makes me hunt for mistakes, hunt for imperfections. I see a downside to every positive situation I’m in. Everywhere I look I see mistakes. My world is filled with imperfections and they can’t be unseen. 

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.

Wikipedia 

And I’m scared. I’m scared of making mistakes because I’m scared that my mistakes will ruin my life. I’m scared that a bug in my code will get me fired. Scared that taking a break from work will ruin my career. I’m scared that my body isn’t good enough, scared that my accent is too noticeable, scared that I’ll never be successful, scared that my boyfriend will leave me for someone better. I’m scared of making mistakes, scared of failing and I’m scared of being scared. 

I don’t want to be a perfectionist anymore

I hate being a perfectionist. It sucks. It’s awful. But I’m getting better, slowly. I’m trying to change and I’m trying hard. Really hard.

I’m trying hard to beat perfectionism, anxiety and all my irrational fears and worries. And I’m confident I will succeed. I’m not scared of the outcome, I’m not scared of failing. Because I will succeed. I know I will. I will get over this, eventually.

And then, I will be able to focus on opportunities, rather than on worst case scenarios. I’ll see the beauty around me, rather than the imperfections. And I won’t be scared anymore. And my mistakes will no longer scare me, they will no longer define me. My mistakes will no longer be imperfections that can drag me down, but opportunities to create something better.

I will beat perfectionism’s ass. It’s a promise I made to myself a while ago, and it’s a promise I will keep. I know I will. I can feel it. Some day soon I will beat this shit. And then, the world will feel like a better place.

read more about my anxiety

crazy therapy experience anxiety-crashing-computer

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45 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness I can so relate! It’s a terrible combination with the depression and anxiety I’m going through as well. Thanks for posting this and helping me see it’s not just me.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll write a post about what I do to deal with my anxiety soon. I can link it here on this comment so you can easily find it 🙂

  2. Haha! I like that you want to kick your perfectionist’s ass! I have that flaw also. I hear your pain. Keep being imperfect and be comfortable with it. Look around you are surrounded by imperfections and it’s not that bad.. 😛

  3. I really think it’s admirable that you realize that you’re a perfectionist and are trying to change. I struggle with this on a daily basis, and constantly think about what I could be doing, how I could be better, and how to compete with others, but when you focus on where you want to be as a person without perfectionism… that’s what inspires you to change. Really great post, and you are not alone! It’s okay to take one day at a time 🙂

  4. I can totally relate to this and think it’s something that can be viewed negatively and positively. We can also make ur weaknesses strengths so sometimes it can be a good thing.

  5. I completely understand this! I’m a perfectionist myself.
    But I learned to live with it because I just can’t change this….
    Thanks for this amazing post!

  6. I can relate. I go through this never ending cycle of “strive for perfection” “realise you can’t” “self-destruct” “start again”. It’s great to know these fears and anxieties are shared by others too xxx

  7. This really really resonated with me! Your entire intro paragraph is perfect and describes how I feel exactly. <3 <3 <3 I struggle with perfectionism and anxiety too and I love knowing I am not alone. Thanks for writing this so beautifully!

    1. Such a nice comment! I’m glad people find my posts helpful, really motivates me to continue sharing these stories, even when the subject is hard. <3
      Good luck with your anxiety and perfectionism! I hope it gets better.

  8. I hear you. It’s not good to put so much pressure on ourselves -first of all that usually makes us fail to some level and doesn’t make us happy about our achievements. Not easy to find the right balance but one step at the time.

  9. Ah yes. My job description when I applied for it, asked for a perfectionist and a person with an irrational commitment to the job. Odd right?
    The fact that you see how perfectionism is making you unhappy, I think, gives you a good chance of kicking it’s bum.x

    1. I used to lie awake so many nights for the same reason. Lately, it has been getting better because I meditate right before going to bed, which seems to help.

  10. I can relate to this as I can be a perfectionist at times, too! You are certainly not alone and it will be hard to beat but we can do it! xx

  11. This post is fab, being a perfectionist is not always a good trait, it’s hard and stressful. I’m glad to see you plan to kick perfectionisms butt💛

  12. Great post. Good in helping to understand. It’s great that you want to eat it. Good luck. WIsh I coould give you a bit of my non-perfectionism. I’m not a perfectionist at all. Which is a bit unhandy from time to time. But not that bad. (For me though. Everyone is different).

  13. I relate to this in so many ways. Right now I’m currently typing up my course outline that has already been typed up because it has these boxes on it that I don’t like.
    I spend so much time trying to perfect everything I do and it’s exhausting! I also have irrational fears and I am so glad I’m not alone! Thank you so much for sharing!
    http://www.midnightandlace.co.uk/

  14. Look at it differently! You strive for greatness, perfection and accuracy. Nothing will ever be as perfect as your work and your content. It has negative sides but hey, don’t forget to look at the good things it brings you.

  15. This is legit who I am. I was the type of person at school who would re-write my homework, just so it looked neater! How ridiculous is that for a 12 year old?

    I think I’ve always set a high standard in my own head, and that affects everything in my life. Relationships, work, my blog, my health. I’ve recently noticed when I’m on the treadmill I try to aim for a certain number i.e. 60 minutes, it can’t be anymore or any less – it’s like I’m obsessive x

    http://www.sheintheknow.co.uk